Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


  Heard on the Hill

Orange Poppy once told me a story of how, when she was in college, she was the nominee for President of her sorority. When she left the room for the rest of the sorority to take the vote, one of her sorority sisters stood up and said, "She gets EVERYTHING! Do we REALLY have to make her President of the sorority, too?" After a considerable amount of debate over what was supposedly a simple formality of voting her in, guess what? Her sorority sisters nominated someone else who was less active and less qualified and made her President!

Recently, I heard a story about the well-respected spouse of a Member of Congress who was treated in a similar manner in a women's group she belongs to there. I know that DC has become a political minefield and that the comraderie that congressional spouses enjoyed regardless of political party for many decades is becoming little more than a distant memory. But why?

And, in this case, it seems that the woman may have been chopped down by members of her own party, rather than the opposing one. The accounts I heard seemed to have little to do with her political affiliations and everything to do with her ever-growing list of accomplishments and accolades.

Is it possible for someone to have too much? YES! As soon as someone starts behaving badly or, as we Southerners say, "She gets too big for her britches", she's a Weed ripe for pickin'. But what about those who just go about their business as usual, step up to the plate when asked, and quietly move on when their time is up? Isn't that what we need in our leaders?

We need to do a better job in our culture of separating Tall Poppies from Weeds. Being jealous of someone doesn't make them a bad person or unfit to lead. It just makes them a Taller, more obvious target.

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